The Stock market
Thursday was a backing-and-filling day in the stock market, although the NASDAQ dropped about 3% because of more bad news in the technology sector.. Whether or not Wednesday's rally was a technical bounce or the beginning of a long rise will be grist for another day. "Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.... "
The West Nile Virus: A Word to the Wise
I've been reading for the past few days about the West Nile Virus appearing at a few spots around the country. I haven't been terribly interested. After all, what are the chances of it showing up here?
Monday, Tommie Jean spotted a dead blue jay lying beside our fence. That night, she saw an article in our Huntsville Times that said that the Madison County Health Department had just identified the West Nile virus in a dead blue jay. Tuesday, we called the Health Department, which sent someone out to bag the bird for analysis. We haven't yet heard the results, but the Wednesday night edition of the Huntsville Times mentioned that the Health Department has now found five dead blue jays that have tested positive for the West Nile Virus, as well as local mosquitoes. The article warned local residents to don insect repellants if they planned to venture where mosquitoes might find them.
AIAA 50th Anniversary Meeting
Tommie Jean and I attended an American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) 50th Anniversary Meeting tonight (Thursday night). (It's the 50th anniversary of the Alabama-Mississippi Section of the AIAA, rather than the AIAA itself.) Four members of the original Peenemünde team were present, all of whom are about 90 years old. It's amazing to see and hear them. "Time has not withered nor custom staled" their vision or ability to present their ideas. They sketched out some principal developmental requirements for our expansion into space. Dr. Stuhlinger mentioned the need for a second-generation successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, and the importance of developing new rocket engines and a successor to the space shuttle, which is now about twenty years old. He also mentioned the signal success of the Deep Space I ion-engined-powered comet and asteroid probe. The ion engine was designed for a one-year mission, but actually operated for four years before it exhausted its propellant and had to be shut down.
There was also an explanation of the seminal role played by U. S, Army General Holger N. Toftoy in bringing the von Braun team, and parts for V2's to the United States. His son-in-law told anecdotes about what a caring man General Toftoy was. Dr. von Braun's niece was also present. There were plans for the attendance of Hermann Oberth's daughter, but in the end, his son, Dr. Adolph Oberth, wrote a letter about his father.
Dr. Reisig told me that he is currently occupied with the translation of his book about the history of the space program from German to English. He said that the hard part is finding English word that can convey the real meaning of their German precursors. He said that this is harder than was the writing of the book itself.
History was looking over our shoulders tonight, taking notes, as one of the last roll calls was taken of the original pioneers of rocket technology.